Can't Touch This

It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that multitouch is a generally better interaction concept than anything else.

I wonder why that is? I mean, nobody would claim that finger painting is generally better than painting with a brush.

Yet, every new handset seems to be critiqued upon how good it handles multitouch.

Which is a total non-issue. I love my Blackberry, and it doesn't even have single touch. And I don't think it would be much better if it had.

I also don't think the Blackberry would be better if it had a browser where text size is 2 pixels.

That's all just stupid reality distortion.


Paul M. Watson said...

I'd say you (and other computer nerds like me) are the ones caught in the reality distortion field of years of non-direct interaction methods. Mouse and physical keyboard.

You know pushing a hockey puck 4 feet from the screen will move the 10 pixel blob on the screen. You know hitting the chiclet keys an inch below the text box you are trying to fill will fill it. Want to drag and drop that item? Hold down on your 3 inch trackpad then move 1mm to the right and let go, that will move the icon 10 inches on the screen which is 4 feet in front of you and 2 feet up. You know Fruit + F will open a Finder dialog on the screen.

Multi-touch (and even stylus-touch) is direct manipulation of the objects on screen. It is a lack of a distortion field. That's why a 2.5 year old, a cat and a 100 year old can use an iPad within minutes of seeing it but not use Windows XP after a month without having to call on the local computer nerd to show them how to save a document.

Anonymous said...

He said very clearly that we don't finger paint anymore. I think there's a reason we don't jam pencil into a finger holder either. I think there's a reason that crayon holding gloves never became popular.

It is because we made a tool that allowed fine articulation and precision and we learned how to use it.

Try writing with your finger instead of a pen. The pen is so much more accurate, sure you've had years of training, but you're a HUMAN, you were MADE to use TOOLS. We evolved with TOOLS and training to use a tool is usually done because it is augmenting something our body can do, but it could be done better.

Besides, why do all the multitouch interfaces resort to onscreen keyboards? Because you can't write on them without a stylus.

Another thing you need to avoid, treating experts like babies.

Manuel J. Simoni said...

I'm not against multitouch. I just think that the multitouchmania is an unbearable collective folly, that forces companies to incorporate multitouch into their devices, for fear of a media backlash, even if that isn't in fact good for their customers in the long run.